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  1. #1

    Default Baptism record marked P - private or pauper?

    I have a baptism record for Rosetta Florence Barnes born 1896.

    * Baptism: "London, England, Church of England Births and Baptisms, 1813-1923"
    London Metropolitan Archives; London, England; London Church of England Parish Registers; Reference Number: P84/AND/003
    Rosetta Florence Barnes baptism on 22 Dec 1897, daughter of James Barnes & Florence Ada Barnes, in St Andrew and St Philip, Kensal Green, Kensington and Chelsea, England.

    The record along with 3 others on that page and a number scattered about the records, has a 'P' in the margin. Other margin marks include 'Adult' and for later records the date of birth.

    I have found an article which says P was used to indicate a pauper or someone receiving support from the parish but gives a time period of a decade from 1783 where this was required to be noted to show they had not paid tax.

    Does anyone know if this was something that was continued for general record keeping rather than tax requirements? Their address in Golbourne Gardens, right by the church, in Kensal Green was a deprived area so not impossible that they were very poor.

    Another page says that P after this time was used to indicate a private baptism after that law was repealed, so would this mean that all 4 of those children had been ill enough to need urgent baptising at home?

    Actually this seems most likely as all 4 of those baptisms are out of sequence of the others, Rosetta's one especially as it is 8 months later:

    • 1297 28/8/98 Whitford
    • 1298 28/8/98 Williams
    • P 1299 22/12/97 Barnes
    • P 1300 15/8/98 King
    • P 1301 21/8/98 Buckingham
    • P 1302 18/8/98 Harrington
    • 1303 25/9/98 Shepperd

    There is a margin note on image 151 of the set by Dec 1897 "For Barnes see page 167 No. 1299
    Only a handful of the other P records are out of date sequence and only by a day or 2.

    Anyone with experience of records like this, it would be much appreciated.

    Many thanks!

    It looks like Rosetta's father later died and her mother remarried and had a new family. Rosetta went to live with her childless uncle and his wife. Hopefully she was loved and happy there - she was with them for at least a decade, still there in 1911 age 15, which implies she wasn't desperate to move out at the least!

  2. #2
    Brick wall demolition expert!
    Join Date
    Sep 2005


    P in a baptism register to me means "private" - a baptism conducted away from the church.

  3. #3


    Thank you, Megan, that does seem most likely

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